Culture, Experience, The Americas
Traditional Chinese Tea in NYC
By Hannah Tall
In a city like NYC, you expect to find everything you could ever want right under your nose. If you’re itching for the vibes and tastes of Latin America, you can go to Jackson Heights. Want to connect with sounds of the Jazz era, then head to Harlem. Craving Greek-head downtown.
But until now, there was no space to drink, enjoy and learn about tea; that’s where Tea Drunk comes in. As NYC first Chinese tea house, Tea Drunk is dedicated to helping people connect with one another as well as discover the rich and dynamic cultural tradition of tea making and consumption.
Shunan Teng, Tea-Drunk’s founder, has always wanted to own her own business. With a background in finance, an urge to start her own business and a love for tea, she decided to specialize in bringing a traditional Chinese tea experience to the east coast, and more importantly, the largest collection of tea that comes straight from the mountains of China.
If you’re a history buff, you’ll love this tea shop and the stories attached to it. Shunan travels in to the mountains of China for months at a time to meet with farmers, cultivate relationships and harvest teas straight from the source. Why? Because the process of engaging and exchanging with tea growers means that the customers are getting the best product possible. No herbal infusions, no blends, just pure tea. Along the way, she has been able to learn about her mother country and herself. She has broken many cultural barriers, bonded with families that cultivate tea and experienced a slower paced, community-minded way of life.
This same sense of community is what Tea Drunk strives to bring to consumers.
“Tea Drunk is a resource I have now. I want to use it to educate people,” says Shunan.
And educate it does. When you walk in to the space, it is decorated with calligraphy and tea accessories that are typical to a Chinese tea house. And the staff know their stuff! They’ll walk you through tea selection based on your mood and serve you tea to your hearts desire during your stay. Tea Drunk also hosts classes and workshops that bring newbies and veteran tea drinkers together throughout the year.
Tucked away on a quiet block in the East Village, I was immediately attracted to Tea Drunk’s welcoming and loving energy while walking by. From my time at Tea Drunk, and Shunan’s words, I’ve learned that “truth should never be offensive”.
Tea Drunk is on a mission to build a community that believes in truth and authenticity, wholeheartedly, one cup of tea and conversation at a time.
Hannah is a Social Enthusiast from NYC. A proud resident of Brooklyn, Hannah is currently doing work in the non-profit and education worlds. Serving young people, civic engagement and travel are her loves. Outside of working with young people, she can be found in a boxing gym, traveling, in a bookstore or at a performing arts showcase.